Here's some of what we've been up to over the last few days, regarding outreach, making our science-based case and engaging with the media.
1. Do you consider yourself a conservationist? A group of advocacy journalists and environmentalists in North Carolina don't. James Womack, on the American Council on Science and Health Board of Scientific Advisors, recently got scorn for being appointed to a state oil and gas commission. It wasn't because of his qualifications, he is arguably the most qualified person there, it was because he was filling a slot described as being for a "conservation" group - and Womack is not proactively endorsing bans on everything, which ticked off writers for anti-science groups.
If he had ever donated $25 to Sierra Club, or any other organization that hates poor people, these activists believe he could be qualified for a conservation slot, but if he helps the pro-science community, including those of us who advocate for responsible use of land, for no compensation of any kind he cannot be a real conservationist.
Womack accurately defended us. "It probably is the poster-child of conservationists," he stated to them, given our history. But...but...we can't be, the advocacy journalists claimed, because we were lauded by President George W. Bush, who said of us, "By increasing our understanding of complex issues, you help Americans make sound decisions about their well-being and influence public policy."
Want to guess which Presidential compliments probably would have been cooed over by those journalists? Obama, Clinton or Carter would be safe bets, and it has nothing to do with conservation, since Pres. Bush (43) signed the toughened Lacey Act, doing arguably more for worldwide conservation than any President in American history. It has more to do with the first letter in their political party.
I have issued a challenge to Sierra Club. If I am not more of a real conservationist than 99 percent of their employees, I will donate $1,000 to their general fund, and they can use it for whatever eugenics idea they are selling this quarter. They refused to respond. Smart move.
I shared my conservation story with every journalist who wrote. If you are also a conservationist who is not out to ban all energy and agriculture, please share your story in a comment. It's important that journalists learn conservation is a lot more diverse than they spin it.
2. Not everyone usually on the anti-science side was out to criticize us. The American Prospect, a publication generally for progressive elites, agrees that media coverage of science is pretty awful. The public knows this too, corporate media science coverage has plummeted due to disinterest among readers while the New York Times has lurched toward chiropractors, chemophobia and claims that agriculture is a vast, right-wing conspiracy bizarrely out to feed poor people for low cost.
Who is taking up that slack? ACSH and Science 2.0 and RealClearScience and plenty of other politically-agnostic groups. The problem is not lack of science interest, 65 million Americans are interested in science, they just got tired of corporate media filtering science through the politics of their editorial boards and their journalists. America leads the world in adult science literacy so this migration away from mainstream media politicization of science is a good thing...unless you are an unemployed former science journalist who went into the field to advance your political agenda.
3. On Indianapolis station WIBC's Hammer and Nigel Show, Dr. Chuck Dinerstein discussed the effect of President Trump's Healthcare Executive Order finally allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines. There is a reason car insurance is available to everyone but health care was not, and that reason was capricious government policy.
4. The website Cheat Sheet discussed our article in USA Today trying to figure out what was really happening in the sonic attacks on American diplomats in Cuba. Washington Post also carried our work, as did many others.
5. There's some concern about designer babies but, really, outside the fringes no one is worried. The goal is to prevent awful diseases, like mitochondrial diseases, and people like Wesley Smith may think those kids should not be helped because science is "unnatural", as do "frankenbaby" activists on the other pole, but legitimate scientists don't do think that way. Nor do they behave that way. In my upcoming book on mitochondria, I discuss how with the first successor to IVF, the American FDA asked the science community not to pursue it until they could create guidelines, and the American science community did it and still does, even though those guidelines were never forthcoming. The first child of over a dozen born before we ceased pursuing that avenue is now an adult and just fine. So the philosophical concerns are invalid. And it's also a lot harder than science opponents portray and Gears of Biz talked about our work outlining how difficult it is.
6. On NPR, Alex Berezow took on three people who were convinced the world is overpopulated and that draconian measures might be needed. This stuff has been popular among people who hate "races" other than Anglo-Saxon (Margaret Sanger, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Maynard Keynes, et al.) since Malthus in the 1800s, but really came alive again thanks to people like Dr. Paul Ehrlich and Dr. John Holdren in the 1960s and '70s and hasn't left since. Rather than being the eugenics of 70 years ago it is now the more innocuous-sounding population control but the intent is the same: elites want to protect people like them while curbing births among people of color or who have different values than they do.
You won't be surprised to learn that even with those odds, Dr. Berezow won.
You can listen below or download for later.
7. Finally, India Food & Beverage News carried our ridicule of an organic food product which attempted to use "Love" as an ingredient.